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House of Representatives Practice, 6th edition – HTML version

10 - Legislation

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Division of a bill

The House has only once divided a bill. In August 2002 the Research Involving Embryos and Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002 was divided into two bills—the Prohibition of Human Cloning Bill 2002, and the Research Involving Embryos Bill 2002. As the standing orders make no provision for the division of a bill, a motion was first moved, following a statement by the Speaker, to suspend standing orders and to specify the necessary procedural arrangements.[455] This motion was extensively debated and agreed to on division. Pursuant to the procedures thus adopted, after the conclusion of the second reading debate on the original bill, instead of the question on the second reading, the question ‘That the bill be divided into . . . (contents of each bill specified)’ was put to the House.[456] This question having been agreed to, separate questions (without further debate) were put on the second reading of the two new bills. Further proceedings on each of the bills followed the normal course. A call for the division of a bill may be incorporated in a second reading amendment.[457]

The House has taken the position that the division of a bill by the House in which it did not originate is not desirable, and has not accepted Senate attempts to divide House bills—see ‘Division of a House bill by the Senate’ in the Chapter on ‘Senate amendments and requests’.


455. VP 2002–04/383; H.R. Deb. (29.8.2002) 6115–6.
456. VP 2002–04/386; H.R. Deb. (29.8.2002) 6196–7.
457. E.g. VP 2004–07/1983.